Jam session: Alison, David, Jacob. Impression, Comparison, Perspective.

Jam session with Jacob Lehreh and David Corbet, 21 Sept 2015

Alison: Following Precipice Improvisation festival, which I was fortunate able to catch a glimpse of in the final performance Sunday afternoon, I chatted with David and Jacob who were keen to engage in more of an extended practice together while they were here in Canberra. Something they do every thre months. They invited me in to be part of it, and particularly as outside eye to their ongoing performance improvisation practice.

impro 3We began with an old tool called the underscore developed by Nancy Stark Smith a way to enter into, develop and reflect on an improvisation. We danced for an hour. It was reinvigorating to engage with the two gents on the floor, and to notice my own body and mind respond to the process. I enjoyed being a soloist, a partner, a voyeur, amongst the tangle of limbs and the island of space.

Discussions post underscore revealed the value of this as a warm up and improvisation research in itself, the container like framework it gives to the piece, without dictating anything. You feel held and supported by knowing a sense of what it possible, to label it or not.

David and Jacob then went on to perform three 13 minute improvisations, with three mins break and talk in between. During this process I participated as active observer employing a watching or feedback tool the boys label ‘ICP’ (Impression, Comparison, Perspective). Each of the three improvs held differences and similarities, grounded by a sense of comfortability, trust, play and variability within a partner relationship, always with an accountability to an audience. This is the performance so having this outside eye is crucial to the doing of their work. I enjoyed reflecting back each time, though at times a little daunting to give my thoughts, sometimes not so clear, other times crystal. This short three hour session together has amplified for me the importance of having a regular dedicated practice, to define a framework for this work, sharing with others this practice and to continually evolve all of the above.

I thank Jacob and David for letting me in to their process. They are generous friends, fellow dancers and teachers. The have given a new energy, perspective and wealth of experience and skill that has inspired me to reflect on what is my work, how do I do it, when do I do it, why do I do it and with whom. And then just do it.

Thanks to QL2 Dance for this short residency in the Theatre enabling this adventure to unfold.

David: Following on from the Precipice weekend Jacob Lehrer (WA) and David Corbet (Rural VIC) invited Alison Plevey (ACT) to share in their long term real time choreographic practice. The session in QL2 studio began with the three participants practicing the Underscore as described by Nancy Stark Smith (USA) and discussing elements of performance improvisation.

Using the performance practice modality of ICP the rest the session was devoted to performance practice and feedback

ICP (Impression Comparison Perspective) is a framework developed by David and Jacob as a model to expose the mechanisms behind performance improvisation. The first time you see a work of performance improvisation you get only an impression of that particular artists work. On a second viewing you are then able to compare the two, and a third time brings some perspective through triangulation of the three. Alison provided David and Jacob with incisive critical feedback as part of this process. Her clarity and articulation was much appreciated.

Thanks to QL2 for providing support for this short residency.

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About Alison Plevey

Alison is an award-winning choreographer and dance and physical artist based in Canberra. Her practice spans youth dance and theatre, education, cross-disciplinary collaborations, festival commissions, solo research and arts industry development in regional NSW and the ACT. Alison holds a first class honours degree from WAAPA. She is a member of The Childer’s Group, an independent arts advocacy group in Canberra. Recent works include ‘Mine!’ (ACT National Science Week 2017), ‘Nervous’ at Mount Stromlo Observatory, and ‘Strings Attached’ at New Acton, ‘Dancing with Drones’ (Performance Space LiveWorks 2015), ‘Shake It’ (Art, Not Apart Festival 2017), ‘Autonomous’ (You Are Here Festival 2017), ‘Sprout’ (Art, Not Apart Festival 2016), ‘Heatwave’ (Dance on the Edge 2016), ‘Johnny Castellano is Mine’ (The Street Theatre 2014), ‘WORK IT’ (Art, Not Apart and You Are Here Festivals 2015). Alison is Co-Director of dance and physical theatre company Lingua Franca with Adam Deusien. Based in Bathurst they create visceral original performance engaging professional, emerging and community artists. Their recent work ‘unsustainable behaviour’ was presented at the Regional Arts Australian Conference, ArtLands Dubbo 2016). Alison is Leader of new Canberra company Australian Dance Party, driven by her ongoing study of dance as a universal communicative medium and a powerful practice for humanity to experience, debate and celebrate. The Party is an evolution of her work as a solo artist and inspired collaborations with diverse artists in Canberra. She aims to build the sustainability of professional dance in our political capital and legitimise the role of the arts in our contemporary context.